Before exercising read this...


When starting any new fitness regime it is important to understand some basics. Working out your maximum heart rate first will help guide your training. This will make your sessions effective without the chance of doing yourself some mischief.


If you have a medical condition or haven't exercised for the last six months you may want to check in with your doctor before starting.

I recommend being active for 20 minutes three times a week to start with, then increase it to 20 minutes everyday. Aim to get your heart rate between 65-75% of your maximum during this time as that’s shown to improve health.

I have detailed how to work out your max heart rate below and how to use "The Feels" as a guide of how hard you are working.

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Calculate your max heart by following the steps below. I've used me as an example underneath to help you out.

  1. Subtract your age from 220 to get your maximum heart rate (write this down).

  2. Next calculate your heart beats per minute (BPM) when you are at rest, ideally first thing in the morning (before coffee!) It's usually somewhere between 60 and 100 BPM.

  3. Now work out your heart rate reserve (HRR) by subtracting your resting heart rate from your maximum heart rate.

  4. Multiply your HRR by 0.7 (70 percent). Add your RHR to this number.

  5. Multiply your HRR by 0.85 (85 percent). Add your RHR to this number.

  6. These two numbers are your training zone heart rate. Your heart rate during exercise should be between these two numbers.

Now let’s use me as an example:

  1. My age is 34 so I subtract 34 from 220 to get 186 BPM, my max heart rate.

  2. Next I calculate my HRR by subtracting my RHR of 60 BPM from 186.

  3. My HRR is 126 BPM.

  4. Multiply 126 by 0.7 to get 88.2, then add my RHR of 60 to get 148.2.

  5. Multiply 126 by 0.8 to get 100.8, then add my resting heart rate of 60 to get 160.8

  6. My target range would be 148-161 BPM


The “Feels”

You need to monitor how you feel alongside your heart rate to ensure you train effectively yet don’t overdo it.

If you are training at a moderate level you will experience the following:

  1. Your breathing quickens, but you're not out of breath.

  2. You develop a light forehead “dew” after about 10 minutes.

  3. You can carry on a good chat, but you can't sing Abba.

Vigorous activity is:

  1. Your breathing is deep and rapid, you sound like a gorilla.

  2. You start pouring sweat after only a few minutes of activity.

  3. You can't say more than a few words without pausing for breath.

As a beginner you want to aim for the moderate level.

Advanced exercisers can push for the vigorous level.

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